You may know Alex Guarnaschelli best as a judge on Chopped or for mentoring All-Star Academy home cooks to culinary success. As a skilled Iron Chef, Alex wows fans with her elegant and approachable dishes, which combine the comforting flavors of American, Italian and French cuisines. Keep reading below for more of Alex’s best-ever recipes, like her tried-and-true chocolate cake and her decadent eggplant parmigiana that is sure to please a crowd. Plus, get a behind-the-scenes look at Butter Restaurant in New York City, where she cooks up seasonal dishes when she’s not on camera or at home.
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Philippe and I took our family apple picking last weekend in a lush, green New Hampshire orchard, and my love for this perfectly crisp, juicy, sweet fruit has been renewed. Watching my sweet daughter Charlotte reach up to a tree heavy with ruby-red fruit and pluck her first apple ever warmed my heart. And seeing Océane nibble on two different apples — one in each hand, while the picking bag, full of fruit, hung heavy looped around her tiny forearm — had me smiling (and mentally preparing for the aftermath of letting four girls freely pick as many apples as they wished). I wondered just how many apples the Transportation Security Administration would let us stash in our carry-on suitcases (the answer: a lot, but only after being pulled out of line for a thorough swabbing of the 20 or so pounds of apples we packed).
During the past few days since our trip to the orchard, we’ve snacked on more apples than I thought possible, given apples to each of the girls’ teachers (and the girls’ teachers from last year, because why leave them out?) and we still have two huge fruit bowls brimming with apples of all kinds. We have tart, firm cooking apples, crisp eating varieties, thick-skinned greenish apples that I don’t recognize but love once I get past the reptile-like skin, trusty red apples and Golden Delicious apples. I’m baking up some basics: my favorite Classic Apple Tart (with an easy butter crust that’s unbelievably good!), a Quick Cinnamon Apple Tart (perfect for when I’m feeling rushed) and my Apple Crumble with Cardamom-Vanilla Caramel Sauce (pictured above). But apples don’t have to be just for sweets. I’ll add a cup or two of cubed (or julienned) apple to my Fennel and Cabbage Slaw or to my Asian Coleslaw (my personal favorite), where some apple will add just the right level of tangy, sweet and tart to complement the warm ginger and spicy Sriracha. And if we still have a few stragglers left next week that somehow didn’t make it into a recipe or someone’s mouth for an after-school snack, I’ll cube them up and simmer them in a bit of water with a cinnamon stick, a squeeze of lemon juice and a dash of maple syrup (also from our New England trip) and make an easy, chunky compote. (Or you can blend up the mixture for a smoother applesauce.) Now I feel like autumn is official.
Apples and pumpkins and spiced lattes, oh my! There are many reasons to love fall, and perhaps chief among them is the influx of produce. While summer often claims the spotlight in terms of garden-fresh goods, autumn too turns out its share of plentiful crops, including squash. From butternut and acorn to delicata and spaghetti, there’s no shortage of squashes hitting store shelves this time of year. And on this morning’s brand-new episode of The Kitchen, the co-hosts showed off their takes on two of them.
Who says pasta must be served with red sauce? Not Marcela Valladolid, who prepared Spaghetti Tossed with Butternut Squash and Sage Butter, an easy-to-make meal that brings together satisfying butternut squash with another fall flavor: fragrant sage. After melting the butter, she infuses it with garlic and the chopped herb, creating a silky sauce that will coat each strand of pasta. Chopped hazelnuts add a welcome crunch, while a sprinkle of nutty Parmesan cheese brings the decadence you crave.
When you order wings in a restaurant or sports bar, it’s pretty safe to assume that what will appear in front of you will involve hot sauce, celery and blue cheese (like Food Network Magazine’s classic recipe pictured above.) But when making wings at home, why not change things up a bit? There are so many other ways to dress up this ubiquitous halftime snack. Just get creative — new flavor combinations are waiting in the wings! Check out the must-try recipes from Food Network Magazine below.
Bake sales are about appealing to the mini masses, so you want to choose a winning recipe from the start. It should be something simple enough to make without a fuss, familiar-looking (don’t forget that most of your customers are kids) and presented with a little flair. Here’s our best advice for a sold-out sale.
What you’ll need:
- Get a platter or nice basket to display your goods. Both are universally available at every dollar store in town, so buy it there. (That way, if it never makes its way back to you, there’s no harm done.)
- Small cellophane bags with twist ties are a great way to display anything from bar cookies to small treats that might come two or three to a serving.
- Make a sign. Using big, clear letters, write out the name of your dish and, if possible, the main ingredients.
If takeout meals are part of your usual dinnertime MO, you’re surely not alone. But with the help of just a few staple recipes and good-to-know tips, you can indeed turn out the classic picks you most often order — cheesy pizzas and garlicky breadsticks, sweet-and-sour chicken and fried rice from the local Chinese restaurant or beefy tacos from the food truck downtown — right in your own kitchen. Find out how with these must-try recipes.
Pizza: Pepperoni, sausage, extra cheese, green peppers, black olives, mushrooms, pineapple — no matter how you top it, pizza is likely a takeout favorite, and for good reason. It’s the ultimate in customizable eating, so nearly everyone is guaranteed to like what’s in front of them. To make your own pie at home, start with a go-to crust. The Pioneer Woman’s recipe for dough is a classic, and it serves as the base of her Basic Pepperoni Pizza and Four-Cheese Pizza. If you really want to deliver on the takeout experience, bake a batch of her Garlic Cheese Bread Sticks, made with only five simple ingredients.
You might not want to turn into a pumpkin at midnight, but odds are you wouldn’t mind eating pumpkin all day until then. This fall, get your pumpkin fix with sweet and savory recipes that will take you from breakfast to dinner (not to mention dessert), whether you use fresh pumpkin or canned puree.
Once your alarm blares, heat up your waffle iron first thing for Pumpkin-Chipotle Waffles. This sweet and spicy morning treat comes with a Southwestern-style kick from cayenne-and orange-infused maple syrup.
OK, we all love gnocchi. How can you not? Delicious little mouth pillows of delight! It’s basically the hybrid love child of all the carbs. Potato + pasta = duh.
I will admit, making gnocchi from scratch can be a bit laborious. It’s therapeutic on a weekend, when you have the time for it (and a trough of red wine to accompany this activity). But on a weeknight, when your family is in a fit of hangryness, you need dinner pronto, man! And this is going to be the way to do it.
I’ve come up with a beyond-simple recipe that gets the kids fed quickly, yet still maintains a teensy bit of fancy for you and yours. The sauce is glorious — packed with loads of garlic and basil, but pureed to give it a smooth, silky texture.
This is actually a tip from my Italian friend, who just spent some time in Italy. She was like, “Bev, you’ve got to puree that sauce. You want it smooth, dude. Like us Italians. Smooth.” She probably didn’t say that last part, but I like to imagine that she did.
You’re using frozen gnocchi for this recipe, but shoot — dried is fine. Even homemade! The kids get the stripped-down version, topped with a simple dusting of Parmesan cheese and truckloads of crusty bread.
And for the adults, we’re simply adding a good handful of Kalamata olives and capers to the tomato sauce, giving it more of a puttanesca feel. You like it, right? I know.
You’ve got to make this! So incredibly perfect for a gorgeous, crisp fall evening. Top it off with more fresh basil, Parmesan and, like, a million pieces of crusty bread. You need these carbs. Trust me.
Everyone knows the best part of making cookies doesn’t involve the oven at all. While it’s not recommended to eat raw cookie dough made with eggs, we’ve all snuck tastes at some point. Fortunately, to save you and the kids from potential stomachaches (or worse), Food Network Kitchen came up with five eggless versions of our favorite cookie doughs that are 100 percent safe to lick right off the spatula, mix into ice cream or roll into truffles. The latter make a great DIY gift that even young kids can help make.
The pound cake is the underdog of the dessert world. It’s not flashy. It’s old-fashioned. It’s simple. But I implore you to take a closer look. If you give it a chance, the pound cake will never disappoint.
First of all, the ingredient list is short. You probably have all the ingredients to make a pound cake right now. That means that no cake craving need ever go unanswered. Second, the method is uncomplicated. It is easy to make and easy to bake. Third, a well-wrapped pound cake freezes exceptionally well. Keep a backup in your freezer at all times to thwart any cake emergency. And, most importantly, pound cake is delicious. Made with a hefty dose of real butter and fresh vanilla bean, the downy cake tastes rich, decadent and far lovelier than the sum of its parts.
Once you’ve gotten your fill of the basic cake, feel free to dress it up. Slice it into layers, reassemble it with ice cream and refreeze it for a gorgeous hot-weather treat. Layer it with fruit and custard to transform it into an elegant trifle. Top it with strawberries and whipped cream for simplified shortcake. You can even grill it to make an unexpected barbecue dessert.